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I'm a Selective Nerd. And Proud of It.

The Original Nerd: Steve Urkel
There may or may not be others out there who know what I mean when I say I'm a selective nerd. But suffice it to say that I'd like to better inform those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, and to call out for reinforcements from those who are like me. If you know me and weren't aware of this aspect of my being, I apologize for being so closed mouthed about the situation. This post is to rectify that oversight.

What is a selective nerd you ask? Someone who has specific things they like that are most often deemed 'nerdy' but prefer not to be shoveled in amongst all the true nerds -- as they would then be exposed to ridicule for not knowing who the Silver Surfer is (or any of those other obscure facts that defines the true nerds).

Selective nerds tend to know many facts about specific subjects within the nerd realm. Many of my friends and general acquaintance know how much of a book nerd I am. I'll choose books over concerts any day of the week -- the fact that my brain is incapable of remembering more than 3 musicians and the songs they sing at one time has forever relegated me into being a habitual nerd. Rare is the day where I'm not carrying around a book I'm currently reading, and now that I have a kindle app on my phone it's now virtually impossible cause I always have my phone.

In addition to being a book nerd I consider myself a selective nerd because I truly do enjoy Star Trek. However I am selective in my liking of it. I don't watch episode after episode, I don't know the plots backwards and forwards, and I definitely don't speak klingon. I do however really like the Star Trek The Original Series, Star Trek The Next Generation and Star Trek Voyager. I haven't scene Star Trek Enterprise or any of the Star Trek movies and I can't stand Star Trek Deep Space Nine (although perhaps I haven't given it a fair shake as I haven't watched all the episodes, but there you go).

Other than books most of my nerdiness comes from what I watch. I own a few things pertaining to those things that I love, but I'm not an avid collector. Those things that I love boil down to five main things each with a few subsets. They are:

1. Sailor Moon/Anime (not all anime, in addition to Sailor Moon I watch/watched Digimon, Card Captors, and Escaflowne) - On any given Saturday in my childhood and for 3 months straight in 2009 I had Sailor Moon episodes traipsing across my tv and my computer screen. As a child I even invented a side-story/fan-fiction in my head where I was another Sailor Scout. Who knows maybe I'll write it down as a short story or graphic novel someday. Revisiting my love for Sailor Moon is the reason why it took me almost 6 months to write chapter 3 of my novel Lasera. :P

2. Power Rangers - as a kid I'd watch Power Rangers side by side with Sailor Moon. Along with me being a Sailor Scout, I also invented a Purple Power Ranger. I watched the original series as a young kid and then got back into the series a lot right around Power Rangers in Space. I used to record the episodes (yes with a vcr and vhs tape) well into my teen years. I stopped watching when they hit Power Rangers Light Speed Rescue --again showing my selective nerdness-- I didn't like that the Rangers  were no longer teens/young adults but adults with professions.

3. Everything Star - This includes Star Wars and all the afore mentioned Star Trek Series. Star Wars was one of the best things that happened to me for the science-fiction/fantasy imaginative side of my brain. Plus I couldn't help but love the kick butt Captain Janeway.

4. Lord of the Rings - To all my friends and family that put up with my LOTR obsession all through high school, thank you for your patience. At the time, if anyone asked me any named character in the Lord of the Rings movies, I could tell them the name of the actor or actress who played them. I also performed three scenes from Lord of the Rings for my drama class (two of them in Elvish) and for my 18th birthday I watched all three extended edition LOTR DVDs marathon style (11.5 hours without all the appendices). My selectiveness with this aspect? I draw the line at owning hobbit feet.

5. Superheroes - I love X-Men. I love Spider Man. (Oh and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? Heck yes!) I loved watching the Justice League and the Avengers. Smallville is a show I've loved for a really long time. I do however tend to show my selective nerdness all too often when speaking to others about it. I really like the stories and who they are and the plots are wicked cool, but alas I'm no where near as obsessed as my true nerd counterparts. My knowledge of Superheroes is limited to movies, animated series and what I slowly retain from online resources. Sorry, never read a comic book -- hence my selective nerd status in this.

When it comes to these subjects and ideas I happily proclaim my nerdness. But I empasize my selectiveness about it. This post is a good look into the craziness that is my brain, but I hope that if there are other nerds out there (true nerds are welcome but most especially selective nerds) stand up and be counted, cause I'm here to say it's more than ok to be a nerd.
***If you want to know more about any of these subjects visit the Fun Stuff page. :D


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Peacock Flock Review # 18 - Secondhand Charm

Secondhand Charm 
Author: Julie Berry

Length: ~ 352 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Heat level: Clean  

Stars: 3.5 Somewhere Between Stars 

Book Summary:
In a secluded village, magic sparkles on the edges of the forest. There, a young girl named Evie possesses unusually strong powers as a healer. A gypsy's charms—no more than trinkets when worn by others—are remarkably potent when Evie ties them around her neck. Her talents, and charms, have not escaped the notice of the shy stonemason's apprentice. But Evie wants more than a quiet village and the boy next-door. When the young king's carriage arrives one day, and his footman has fallen ill, Evie might just get her chance after all . . .

Berry's debut novel garnered glowing reviews and strong sales—and now she's done it again with a beautifully woven tale to keep all readers, young and old, absolutely charmed.

We really did like this world. And when the book ended we wanted to stay in the world which was a good sign, however the plot left more to be desired. It took a while for things to happen. And the romance aspect could've been delved into more (despite the fact that the book is 352 pages. Some slower stuff needed to be taken out and more romance put in). We wanted Evie to grow more as a character as the book progressed. We also got tired of how many misunderstandings Evie and Aidan had. Yes people aren't perfect and therefore characters shouldn't be either, but it just seemed to be a constant obstacle and got a little old. We have to admit though this world was definitely original! We loved who Evie was and the "serpentina" concept. But it needed to happen earlier in the novel so that we could learn more about it. All in all a good light read and we may or may not read it again. 

That's it from the flock! 


5 Tips for Getting Your Book Reviewed

There are a lot of good articles out there about Review Etiquette, both for the reviewer and the author -
just a small sampling of which is here:

The Bookish Brunette: Thinking Too Hard About - Author Review Request Emails

But I thought I'd add my two cents and give my top five ways to up your chances in the 'getting your novel reviewed' department.

1. Read the Review Policy. Period. This is a given. As reviewers we cannot emphasize this enough. This was the one common thread to every single article above. The Books, Biscuits & Tea article above made an excellent point: if an author can't take the time to read the review policy, which almost always takes less than 5 minutes (mine is 3, I timed it), plus the maybe 10-15 minutes to send a personalized email that has all the reviewer's specifications, why in the world would a reviewer dedicate maybe 10-15 hours to read their novel plus the additional time to write a review? Authors have to take the time if they want reviewers to invest almost 10X the same amount. Nothing annoys a reviewer more than if someone ignores what they've specifically stated. It's a waste of both the author's time and the reviewers.

2. Be Polite & Professional. You'd think this would also be a given, but nope. You'd be surprised at the amount of rude and inconsiderate things I've read as a reviewer. And trust me those people always go on my blacklist. Example: a potential author sent me an obvious mass email (big no no #1) that actually had a disclaimer at the bottom saying they were sorry if the book didn't meet my requirements for review (This novel didn't meet my requirements big no no #2). I replied "Read the review policy in more detail and we might consider it. There'll be an extra two week waiting period for not doing so in the first place." In response this author said that I must be referring to the note buried at the bottom of my review policy, that there was much better reviewers out there to use who'd been doing it longer than I had, and that my two week waiting period was "a joke, immature, and unprofessional". (HUGE NO NO) This author got it better than prospective authors now, if you don't make the statement I specify in my policy I discard your request. Yes I could've used something less direct for my original communication but that's absolutely no excuse for what this author said. I will never review for this author, nor will I ever read anything by this author. Pretty sad to burn bridges when you're trying to build up your book isn't it? Please please please, be considerate.

3. Support the Reviewer. Be Active On Their Blog. As time has gone on, I am receiving more and more review requests. I really like to help other authors, but with me doing only one review a week it works to the author's advantage to do everything they can to set their book apart. So help us reviewers out. Follow our blogs or our twitter handle. Like us on facebook. All those good social media things. I've met some amazing other authors and people through friends of internet friends. It's common sense that those authors who follow a reviewer's blog, who comment on posts, who know the content (etc) will get a leg up than those who just send an email. We're all trying to make connections in one way or another. Personally I truly appreciate the gesture and the effort.

4. Have A Great Request Submission. I really want to love a book right from the beginning. If an author hasn't at least perused QueryShark. Go look. Like right now. A good book request is essentially a query letter. When I do eventually submit my own novel to reviewers I can pretty much assure you I'm most likely going to be copying and pasting the paragraphs describing my book. A good query letter can be used over and over again for submissions to agents, editors, publishers, even eventual back cover copy. I am that much more likely to prefer a novel that sounds enticing. Include your cover art. This means cover art done by a designer, not a pencil drawing done by you and some Microsoft WordArt. Make sure you pay attention to the do's and don'ts of each reviewer. It's an awesome feeling when I read a review submission and I like the request so much that I'd really like to jump the book to the front of the queue. :D

5. Contact Correctly & Be Appreciative. As reviewers it's hard to take seriously an author who floods a twitter feed or facebook page. If you've read the review policy and contact me once through twitter or facebook, I'd say you're okay. But it's those authors that contact just because and don't do one iota of looking beyond the facebook page or twitter handle, that are hard to stomach. In addition it's always nice to graciously send appreciation. This is especially important if it's a negative review. Some reviewers may not want a thank you email, but most don't mind. For me, I find it energizing. Make sure to do your due diligence and understand how to contact the reviewer, and should you be fortunate enough to get a review an appreciation email is most often a good way to go.

Cheers! :D

Peacock Flock Review #17 - Infinity

Infinity - Chronicles of Nick # 1 
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Length: ~ 464 pages

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Heat level: Clean  

Stars: 3.5 Somewhere Between Stars 

Book Summary:
At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity. Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead. But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he's next on the menu. As if starting high school isn't hard enough. . . now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?


We liked the premise and really liked Nick's voice from the beginning. But there were quite a few info dumps, most specifically for characters and what they looked like, which is a deterrent. Have to admit by about 3/4 of the way through the book we were so tired of the fact that almost every single female described in the book was drop dead gorgeous or the like. Rubbed us the wrong way so much that it felt like the text was objectifying women, even if that wasn't the intent. We did like the world building and enjoyed the references to the setting. Although with this being New Orleans we would've liked a more consistent feel of this through the dialogue, plus we were surprised when beignets were mentioned quite a ways into the book. If it's such a prominent setting we gotta know it early on. The other thing that really bothered us was the some of the internal monologue and dialogue of Nick. When you're a teenager you don't ever refer to yourself as such, or reference the angst or whininess. It just is. Can't think of a single teenager that we know right now who has resisted the urge to be "angsty" or "whiny". They may decide to not be grumpy, or to keep their mouth shut and not be snarky, but yeah using those terms gave the novel an artificial feel and brought us out of the narrative. Essentially, there was some good stuff we liked, and we're going to finish this series and probably the Dark-Hunter one after this, but there were some things that prevented this from being an "Oh My Gosh WOW! You have to read this book".

That's it from the flock! 


Peacock Flock Book Review #16

Peacock Flock Book Review #16

The Mine
Author: John A. Heldt

Length: ~ 281 pages

Genre: Science Fiction

Heat level: Clean (scene or two "off screen") 

Stars: 4 Stupendous Purple Stars 

Book Summary:
In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.


We were quite surprised but happy at the level of skill this book was written with. There were a numbers of times where the prose delighted us so much we laughed out loud and read and reread certain passages just because they were written so well. There's a comparison involving hell that was so good and unexpected that we read it out loud to a number of our friends and family. We won't spoil it for you, you'll have to read the book to get the reference but it was a such an excellent phrase we wished we'd written it. All of the characters were well developed and we quite liked following along in Joel's wake. It's a great premise with, what do you do if you're transported into a time on the threshold of the Pearl Harbor disaster? We would have preferred it to be a little bit harder for Joel to find a way to get home. Considering the fact that there aren't a whole lot of plot twists available when the main character is stuck in another time -- the climax and biggest problem is obviously getting back, and if he can go back whether or not he does go--. All in all though a great book, one we will be reading again! :D

That's it from the flock! 


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